The Psalm reading from the One Year today came from Psalm 121. I felt like the whole psalm is great, but the final lines are what captured my attention the most. I thought they were very encouraging, especially in this season.
I am aware of the many stories of people across the country who are frightened for their livelihoods and their lives. There are rioters and anarchists destroying things under the guise of public outrage, masking their activities in the legitimate grievances of others. It is a very real threat. People are afraid to go out at night; and it is further frustrating, because it seems as if representatives of state government sit on their hands and let their cities burn and their people hurt.
I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but this is unavoidably true. People are hurting, and only a handful of leaders and journalists are honestly seeing both injustices and calling them what they are. What can a person do when law enforcement is overwhelmed, when governors pontificate, and when journalists outright ignore what is happening?
The Psalmist provides a way out:
The Lord will keep your life from harm —
he will watch over your life.
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7–8)
Whether or not human protections are operative, the Lord is watching over you. He is not the God who wound up the clock and left us to our own devices and morality. He watches over all life and does not mean for it to come to any harm. Harm and damage and evil is outside of God’s design, and only comes through sin and the influence of the devil.
God doesn’t just watch from a security office, clicking through different camera feeds every once in a while. He is a watchman who focuses on the details— your coming and your going. When you leave your home, everything you do while you are gone, and every moment as you return. No matter the violence or noise or unrest around you, He is watching over you.
God doesn’t have a schedule or a shift, either. He watches you from the moment you enter this world, and He keeps watching. Now and forevermore. From right now into the timelessness of eternity, His eyes are on you. That is a truth that should inspire a fearless and peaceful life. Not a careless or thoughtless one, but one that lets you keep walking with an understanding that every step you take is seen by a watchful protector.
You already knew where I was going with this if you recognized the image above. I can’t help but jump to comic book characters, it’s ingrained into my DNA. I’m not comparing God to a dark and scary character (because that’s never how I understood Batman, but this isn’t about Batman!), but to the idea of a careful, constant, powerful watchman who is pleased when things are totally peaceful — and is enraged when darkness decides to take the night as its playing field.
It’s easy for me to picture a powerful, wholly altruistic, and deeply righteous figure peering from every angle, seeing every detail, and ensuring that the night passes without injustice. I’m hoping you can feel the security that image gives you as you think about going out at night, especially if you are in an area facing unrest.
Also, before anyone gets upset, I’m not saying God will beat up and hospitalize the reckless, violent idiots who burn things and hurt people. (Though, there is a small part of my brain that wouldn’t be offended if something like that happened — I’m the person who giggles when Batman does Batman things, and I’m not sorry) I am saying that He is NOT going to sit back and observe evil as it happens. He records every detail, for right now and for eternity. He does not withhold mercy or leave evil unmatched.
I am saying you have a watchman who sees you. He knows that you are doing the best you can. He knows you may be afraid of harm. But He will protect you from harm and keep His eyes on you, your home, your neighborhood, and your city. He sees everything, but He repeatedly tells us that His view is intimate, not far-off and aloof. He will keep His protecting gaze on you forever.
For anyone who thinks the darkness excuses their violence, that fear provides them power, and that apathy emboldens their peers to continue in their foolishness, I have something to tell you.
He’s watching you, too.